When Mother Teresa had to make a speech, she did not use notes or read from a prepared text. To get ready, she would simply withdraw to a church or chapel or other quiet place for a few minutes and pray. Then, when the time for her talk came, she always found the words she needed—in fact, her brief and simple words usually went to the heart of the matter and displayed great spiritual depth and wisdom.
“Remember,” Jesus told the disciples, “you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking.” Indeed, later, in the Acts of the Apostles, the Spirit fills the apostles when they address the people: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John and realized that they were uneducated and ordinary men, they were amazed and recognized them as companions of Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
Mother Teresa, for one, took Jesus’ advice. But it’s not only a piece of advice; it’s a command, and a strange one at that: Don’t get ready! How many of us feel the need always to know what we’re going to say or do next, to prepare for every eventuality, to be in complete control of ourselves and our surroundings, to worry about how others will react? Maybe, like Peter and John and Mother Teresa, we can speak and do the truth from the heart and trust God’s Spirit to take care of the rest.